Supporting Rural Innovators
Ashoka Fellow, Kerala, India
Speech Topics:Paul Basil sees that people living in rural areas must confront problems of every sort with few resources or ready-made solutions. Some brilliant and widely applicable practical solutions reach scale, but often the solutions designed by rural people are seen merely as local innovations, with limited application beyond a small cluster of communities. Using a venture capital investment model, Paul is reaching these rural innovators who have little visibility or access to support. He and his staff identify promising ideas, such as rain guns, automatic seed-drills, bio-insecticides, and solar water purifiers. By mentoring the men and women behind the ideas, Paul and his team help refine, promote, and market the ideas or products. Paul's organization–Rural Innovations Network (RIN)–helps innovators improve upon innovations with a larger rural market in mind. With suitable exposure, modifications, technical assistance, and incentives, these homegrown innovations can replace expensive, ineffective tools and can solve some of the region's most pressing social and agricultural problems. Qualitative market research is done intensely before initiating work on any innovation and also during the pre- and post-innovation, market-launch period. The intellectual property rights of the innovators are protected by filing for patents and trademarks. RIN is also sourcing commercial investments so that these will continue as self-sustaining rural enterprises.
- Appropriate Technology/Innovation
- Rural Economic Development